We like to talk about change. No, we like to shout about change. We like to shout to demand change.
And so, with so much change going on in this world there is a lot of shouting. Loud shouting. Shrill shouting.
Unfortunately, when you shout you do not hear anything. You do not hear anyone except yourself.
In essence, we want everyone and everything to change but not ourselves.
Let’s pause for a moment then, tone down the shouting and take a look at how nature changes things. Really, can anyone of us argue with the way Mother Nature goes about her business? Perhaps we can relate this with the way WE try to change things.
Nature changes things through 4 ways: Fire, Wind, Movement and Water.
Fire is a holocaust. It is all-encompassing and consumes everything in its path. Burning the grass, little twigs and leaves and branches and scarring the huge trees. There is no defense against a rampaging fire specially if it is incited all the more by high winds.
But Fire burns only what we can see. It does not burn the roots of the plants it destroys. It makes changes on the surface but not at the very basic of things. When it disappears, in a few days, a few months or years down the road, the shoots start to sprout and the plants grow up again, renewed but still the same plants as before.
It is the Dictator or heavy-handed Manager or Leader who tries to change things like fire. They are well, like fire and brimstone – tough guys who govern and manage through fear. Unfortunately, after they slash and burn and finally disappear, the forest goes back to what it once was.
Wind is unpredictable. It can be gentle at times like a soothing breeze changing nothing or it can be ferocious as a swirling tornado or roaring typhoon leaving behind a swath of destruction. It can sweep things away in an instant, carry sand particles for miles and topple tall and stately trees.
But wind does not last long. It may destroy but it leaves behind the pieces or, if it does pick up the pieces, it only brings along the small stuff. The stones and boulders are left behind.
It is the mild-mannered, prim and proper Leader or Manager that tries to change things like the wind. They are more concerned with form and not too much with substance. Some will go through their term like a gentle breeze concerned mainly with how things look and not much anything else. Some of them will whip up a storm once in a while but will never follow up on making sure that the changes are really effective or substantial or not.
Movement is sudden. It strikes unexpectedly and shakes things to their core, toppling buildings and causing mountains and continents to shift. It can be large enough to be felt over a wide area or be so minuscule instruments would be need to detect it.
But movement only changes the weak. That which is firm and resolute and those who learn to sway or dance to the movement or music are unaffected.
The Consultant changes things like Movement. Hired to make changes but having no responsibilities for the results, pinpointing the weaknesses and making recommendations on how to eliminate them.
Water is a grinder. It can make changes in any state it is in. As a placid lake it still dissolves and flattens its bottom. As a flowing river it can, in the fullness of time, flatten mountains and cut through the hardest of stone. It changes where it comes from and where it goes creating fertile deltas and enriching the seas.
But it takes a lot of water to change things and, left to its own devices, water will only follow the laws of gravity and can be equally destructive as it is constructive. As it was with the Grand Canyon, water will leave behind significant changes but it will take time and consistency to effect it. Water will not give up or suddenly apply brute force when it meets an obstacle. It will work around it and slowly effect the changes it wants to make.
The enlightened Agents of Change are like water. They know that real change does not come in an instant but comes with steady and consistent effort. That in order to effect changes, efforts and resources need to be channeled towards a single direction to change behavior, attitudes and ways of thinking for the better.
Where, you say, will we get all that water to effect real change? The water we need will come from patience, consistency and integrity.